Dystopia/Utopia (Make Your Escape Derby)

Game Date: 18th March 2020
Game Number: 47 and 48
Price for Two: £50 for each game
Website: https://www.makeyourescapederby.com/

Game Outline

These two games can be played as two separate standalone rooms but to get a truly unique experience they can be played back to back with one room literally leading into the next. We played them as back to back as possible, albeit with a 5 min break in between, and so I will review the rooms as one.

UtopiaDystopia
In an alternate time-line, the world is divided between those who have and those who have not.
For those in Utopia, life is good! Technologically advanced, every need is catered for, every wish fulfilled. Overseen by their benevolent government, the Utopians are protected from the outside dystopian world and the disease ridden creatures that wander there.
But is all as perfect as it seems? Are there darker truths to be uncovered?
Whether you battle it out with Utopian teammates, play as a standalone game or play both in succession, Dystopia’s story intertwines with it’s sister room. Welcome to the darker side of the divide. Beyond the great dome of Utopia lies a desolate wasteland. Disease has ravaged the population, resources are scarce and, for those still managing to survive, life is hard.
Yet, long condemned to the darkness, the Dystopians have become resilient and determined. No longer will they accept their fate quietly and no longer will the advancements of Utopia benefit only the few.
Besides, they’ve made some advancements of their own and Utopia might just need them more than they realise

Arrival and Introduction
Make Your Escape is found behind a pretty non-descript door in the centre of Derby, just opposite the INTU shopping centre. We were a little early as per usual and so waited outside until we were greeted by our games master already in character which I really liked. There is no real space for teams to wait hence why you are asked to wait outside so bear that in mind if the weather is not on your side. The game brief is delivered just inside the room, which is something I do not usually like but I feel for Dystopia and Utopia it works.

Gameplay
Both Dystopia and Utopia looked incredible with the clean, bright modern look of Utopia mirrored in the dank, dark and grimy look of Dystopia. Puzzles were well matched with the rooms as well with Utopia focusing more of technology based puzzles and Dystopia having more locks and the like, no puzzles seemed out of place and they all fitted really well within the story of the room and the overall story arc as well. Between the two rooms there was plenty of most puzzles types – observation, logic, physical etc. I feel that Utopia flowed a little better as there was a mechanic present that acted as sort of a progress tracker whereas I was starting to get a little panicked towards the end of Dystopia as I thought there was still a lot more we had to complete. Searching was definitely more required in Dystopia though thankfully there was little in the way of red herrings.

Ultimately, each of the rooms were well themed, decorated and full of good puzzles that fitted within the overall story, but how they link together is what made them brilliant.

Outcome
We escaped Dystopia with just over 5 minutes left and then went straight into Utopia and escaped that with little over 15 minutes left. As there was another team playing Utopia before us, we did have to wait for a few minutes whilst the room was reset, however you can book both rooms back to back which means you literally escape from one into the other. Clues came via voice over (I think!) and were well timed just as we started to get frustrated with ourselves.

Overall
Each game was brilliant it is own right however playing them back to back is where they really excel. The story is so cleverly linked between them and they feel so connected yet so different at the same time. Throw in knowledgeable, friendly GMs who are in character throughout and you have a must play experience. Both games are billed at the same level of difficulty, but I think Dystopia was slightly more challenging. I would recommend that you have a few games under your belt before trying these as a pair.

Customer Experience: 4.5 out of 5
Themeing: 4.5 out of 5
Gameplay: 4.5 out of 5
Enjoyment: 4.5 out of 5

Overall: 4.5 out of 5

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